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Lavender

Lavandula officinalis

Parts used medicinally: Flowers

Lavender, although well known throughout the world, is a herb native to the Mediterranean. It’s a part of the mint family and the purple flower spikes are packed with essential oils, that give off a soothing fragrance when in bloom.

This beautiful plant has been used for centuries for culinary, cosmetic and medicinal purposes. The flowers and the oils that they contain have always had a special place when it comes to scenting the home and creating a soothing atmosphere. Lavender was one of the herbs the ancient Egyptians would use in their mummification process to help with preservation. This comes as no surprise as the oil offers us wonderful antiseptic properties.

The first thing that might come to mind when you think of Lavender is sleep – and that’s because it is a very useful sedative. It helps to calm the nerves and induce relaxation. Herbalists often use lavender in blends designed to help with insomnia and anxiety, while aromatherapists make use of it in their massage blends to help sooth and relax tired and tense muscles. Massaging the essential oil on your temples or taking a few drops of the tincture is a valuable remedy for stress and tension headaches.

Another less known action of this plant is that it can help relieve gut spasms and cramping that often lead to bloating and discomfort.

Did you Know?

  • The name comes from the Latin word lavare (to wash) as it was often added to bath water and used to make soaps and other cosmetics.
  • In the middle ages it was a popular strewing herb – a plant that was scattered over the floors of houses, churches and other places to not only offer a lovely fragrance but to also serve as disinfectants and insecticides.

Lavender and Me

  • Lavender makes a great infusion especially when blended with chamomile and rose.
  • Why not try making a sleep pillow with dried lavender? Collect some lavender flowers, dry them and tie them up in a muslin cloth to put inside your pillow.
  • Lavender essential oil is a great remedy for insect bites. Carry a bottle when you’re out and about and apply neat to help sooth when bitten.
Lavender essential oil

If you are pregnant/breastfeeding or on drug medication, be sure to consult with a professional before trying these remedies.